Local

Neighbors ticketed for parking in their driveways

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

We have all seen it in our neighborhood at some point, parking on the sidewalk in front of your driveway. But soon, residents may have to pay a fine for doing it.

Neighbors in the Clearwood Crossings subdivision called us saying they think the city's parking patrol is unfairly targeting cars parked in driveways but are blocking the sidewalk. But the city says not so fast, there's a big safety issue.

It's a neighborhood parking routine the city's calling a big problem.

"I saw a green envelope on my window and it was a ticket!" said Clearwood Crossing resident Carissa Lilly, who's upset over the parking ticket.

These parking tickets are ticking off some families in Clearwood Crossing who thought their cars were safe in their driveways.

"It doesn't make sense, why we got a ticket for parking in our own driveway, it's our property," resident Alex Leon said.

Several neighbors here say they woke up to find parking tickets from the city this week for blocking the sidewalks. And now many of the alleged violators are demanding answers from Houston's parking management.

"I park like this all the time, and I never get a ticket for it," Lilly said.

We took the neighbors parking ticket concerns to the city. A parking management spokesman said the city's simply enforcing a state code that says parking on a sidewalk can be a hazard to pedestrians and others.

"A lot of people use the sidewalks in our city, and if a vehicle is obstructing that sidewalk, it forces those people either on to private property, which I'm sure folks don't want, or into the roadway where there's many vehicles. That's not safe," City of Houston Spokesman Chris Newport said.

Now the unhappy neighbors are facing $40 parking fines.

"I'm upset that I have to pay this ticket," Lilly said.

And some say they're not changing a thing about the way they're keeping their cars in the driveway.

"No! I'm going to park my car there, because that's where I've always parked it," neighbor Maggie Martinez said.

The city says it's all about safety, but parking management did launch a new program last week where you can contest your tickets online. The website is www.houstonparking.org.

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